'A team from the past': Graeme Souness laments long ball tactics and says Scotland "a country mile" off Croatia standards

Graeme Souness says he expected more from Scotland against Croatia after being impressed in the England draw at Wembley.
Graeme Souness (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)Graeme Souness (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Graeme Souness (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

However the former Liverpool, Rangers and Newcastle manager says the players took the easy option too often by going ‘route one’ during the 3-1 defeat masterminded by Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric. Souness claimed Scotland lacked the energy that earned a point at Wembley and failed to close down the little playmaker who curled in his side's second goal and exposed Scotland as “a country mile” off their opponents.

“When he played against England in the first game, England hunted him down. He didn’t have an impact and I expected us to do the same. We never really got near him and we didn’t have the same energy as we did on Friday night,” Souness lamented.

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Instead he says Scotland played like “a team from the past” and “another era” looking to utilise the height and power of Lyndon Dykes.

"We were out-footballed by a really good football team. Brozovic, Kovacic and Modric ran the show. It was a lesson,” he said on ITV’s coverage of the Group D encounter. “I don’t want to be down on the nation, but I’m disappointed because I came here thinking it’d be more of the same as against England.

“I don’t think you’ll see another team playing at the Euros who’ll play as long as we did. The goalkeeper kicked it long, route one stuff and football from another era.

"We just didn’t play enough football. To do well at this level you have to get it down and be able to play football.”

Croatia had been described in some quarters as an ageing team from what they were in 2018 as World Cup runners-up, but still exposed their gulf from Scotland with Souness insisting tactical changes were required in the second half.

“They’re a country mile from where they need to be.

“I saw a team who took the easy option just launching it at times. We were out-foxed and out-played by a really good team.

“You know what you get from Scottish teams – lots of effort, 100 percent passion, but we’ve got to play more football than we showed, because we can do it – and we did it at Wembley.”

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